Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Special Screening: The Secret World of Arrietty

This past weekend I attended a special prescreening event for Studio Ghibli’s The Secret World of Arrietty at Symphony Space in New York City. Due to the film being screened as a very special pre-theatrical release, all reviewers, writers, and bloggers were asked to refrain from writing reviews on the film. And so I will respect Symphony Space’s request and wait to post a full-fledged write-up until the film is fully released in February. For the time being, I would like to give a general summary of my experience at Symphony Space and the screening that helped to kick off the Children’s Film Festival in NYC.

The Secret World of Arrietty is a Studio Ghibli film that has been licensed by Disney for release in the United States, while GKIDS is distributing the film to theaters. The film is an adaptation of the novel “The Borrowers” and its target audience is young children to adults. It follows the young “borrower” Arrietty and her adventures in being a miniature human being. No really, she’s only a few inches tall! She befriends a human being named Sho, or Shawn in the English dub, and such an act is forbidden to such borrowers. This of course creates a friendship and a conflict within the film, but I will go into that more in a future write-up.

Seeing Arrietty in a large theater was a fantastic experience, and I can’t thank Symphony Space and GKIDS enough for allowing such a special screening. There were many children who attended the screening along with their parents, but it was evident that anime fans made their way to the screening as well. As announced before the beginning of the film, this was the official first screening of the English dub in the United States. And if I may add, the dub was overall pretty good. So don’t be afraid to check out the dubbed release in February as it is very entertaining.

Of particular interest and a fact I would like to point out is how when waiting for the film to start there were a number of images projected onto the screen in regards to the Children’s Film Festival that GKIDS helps to put on. Of particular interest were the titles Hoshi o Ou Kodomo (Children Who Chase Lost Voices From Deep Below) by Makoto Shinkai and Hiroyuki Okiura’s (of Jin-Roh: Wolf Brigade fame) A Letter to Momo. I believe this means they will be screened as a part of the New York Children’s Film Festival, and I can’t wait to see these films on the big screen.

Thank you again to Symphony Space and GKIDS for distributing The Secret World of Arrietty! Keep up the good work and bring more anime to NYC!

-Jared Cyhowski

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